Aside from the positive numbers – it toasted a 18% rise in UK sales and a 52% rise in international sales in the four months to the end of December – the most telling moment from today’s Asos press briefing was its repetition of the words customer experience.
The fashion brand’s chief executive Nick Beighton attributed the sales growth, its fastest in three years, to a significant investment in “customer experience” and the “customer proposition”.
While on the surface Beighton’s words might appear generic, they represent a wider trend, with a similar mentality of ‘serving shoppers a little better every day’ working wonders for Tesco. When asked by Marketing Week why Tesco no longer prioritises blockbuster TV advertising, its CEO Dave Lewis replied: “Our take on advertising is the more appropriate we can be, the more helpful we can be and the more real we can be is much more effective than reverting to blockbuster advertising.”
Tesco’s recent marketing strategy has been to first improve the shopping experience and only then to communicate these improvements through advertising. And it isn’t a coincidence the implementation of this strategy has coincided with Brits shopping more regularly at Tesco. Whether its rather tiresome ads featuring a couple played by actors Ruth Jones and Ben Miller entertain you is besides the point; Tesco’s strong festive numbers marked its eighth consecutive quarter of volume growth.
Lidl is deploying a similar marketing strategy through its ongoing Lidl Surprises campaign. While the ads started off as an opportunity to entice the middle classes, Lidl switched up the campaign last year to instead put the spotlight on its anti-advocates.
The overarching goal is to show how Lidl can win over the unconvinced, while showing the wider public how much its customer experience – particularly in areas such as meat and fresh produce quality – has radically improved. And much like Tesco, it appears to be working, with Lidl’s Christmas ad crowned the most likely to result in a consumer purchase by Kantar Millward Brown.
Yes, on the surface repetition of the words ‘customer experience’ can feel a little like being subjected to a business jargon torture device. But brands such as Asos, Tesco and Lidl are currently proving that if you get the shopping experience right, you can make your marketing budget stretch a lot further by simply amplifying this message. And all without the need for a ‘blockbuster’ CGI character.